New book — The Rape of Socialism

The Rape of Socialism – How Labour lost the Millennium
Donovan Pedelty, 512pp, £13.50 [click here for a PDF about the book]

A hundred years ago socialist thinking, in tune with the rising tide of labour protest, presented a serious challenge to the capitalist hegemony. However much they differed over ultimate objectives and how to reach them, the Socialists of the late nineteenth century were at one in their conviction that individualistic capitalism would have to be overcome to establish a just and sane society. They were equally certain that the huge advance in productive capacity which capitalism had helped to bring about, by proving that poverty could be abolished, had made such a transformation possible, immediately or at least within the near future.  So what went wrong?  Donovan Pedelty, in this widely-ranging, fascinating and sometimes darkly humorous anarchist critique, explores the answer to this question through a study of development of socialism during the last hundred years or so, focusing principally on the British Labour Movement since World War II. Within the framework of what apologists for capitalism have always dismissed as ‘utopian visions’, but which Socialists have shown to be realisable, this book traces, in Part One, the development in Britain -through the jockeying for power of the bourgeois political parties – of ‘fully representative democracy’, while highlighting the contradiction between this development and their commitment to capitalism. Part Two analyses the reasons why the party formed to challenge the dominance of capital failed to use that ‘democratic power’ to give the people social justice – and ultimately capitulated to capitalism. This is the story of how Labour, corrupted and distorted its supposed ideal – socialism. The Rape of Socialism (available from http://www.centralbooks.com)